Billy Strings took refuge at Denver’s Mission Ballroom on Saturday after braving the weather during two outdoor shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Thursday and Friday.

The three-night Colorado run kicked off with a rain-soaked show on Thursday, where Strings honored the late Gordon Lightfoot and debuted his recent collaboration with Willie Nelson. Strings and his band then overcame technical issues on night two at Red Rocks on Friday to deliver a stellar show where they broke out “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash in celebration of the end of the rain. The weather was no threat on Saturday, though, as the band moved over to the comparatively intimate Mission Ballroom.

With about half the capacity of Red Rocks, the room was as packed as ever as Strings and his band took the stage to raucous applause. With a cheeky grin and quick, “Howdy, Denver,” Billy led the bluegrass ensemble into a patient “Fire Line” that featured a fiddle solo from Alex Hargreaves and incendiary fretwork from the bandleader.

Billy Strings – “Fire Line” – 5/13/23

A jammy rendition of the traditional “Reuben’s Train” came next, complete with a tease of the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street”, followed by “Thirst Mutilator”. “Steam Powered Aereo Plane” then marked the first of several John Hartford covers. The next, “With a Vamp in the Middle”, arrived after a detour through “Love and Regret”. Then, after “Libby Phillips Rag”, one of the highlights of the night arrived as Hargreaves sang lead vocals on Doc Watson‘s “I’m Troubled”.

The first set continued with “Walk on Boy” by Mel Tillis, another song popularized by Doc Watson, “Hollow Heart”, and “I’m Still Here” by John Hartford. The Monkees‘ “Last Train to Clarksville” then gave way to Billy Failing’s “So Many Miles” with Failing on lead vocals before a set-closing “Dealing Despair” brought it home.

After a brief set break, Strings and company returned to the Mission Ballroom stage and kicked off set two with the traditional “The Cuckoo”. From there the band wandered through a pretty “Running While I’m Waiting Here” and a cover of Jerry Reed‘s “The Likes of Me” before arriving at “Hands on the Wheel” by Willie Nelson, who just celebrated his 90th birthday with Strings and many other A-list musicians at Hollywood Bowl.

“Nothing’s Working” came next ahead of the traditional “John Hardy”. The reminder of the set was comprised of “Wargasm” > “E.M.D.” by The David Grisman Quintet, “Love Like Me Dark Hollow” by Bill Browning and His Echo Valley Boys, “Long Forgotten Dream”, and John Hartford’s “All Fall Down”. For the encore, the band selected “Sophronie” by Jimmy Martin.

Click below to view fan-shot videos from Billy Strings at Mission Ballroom and scroll down to see the full setlist. Visit his website to view upcoming tour dates and purchase tickets.

Billy Strings – “Reuben’s Train” (Traditional) > “Thirst Mutilator” > “Steam Powered Aereo Plane” (John Hartford), – 5/13/23

[Video: Whodcapfit]

Billy Strings – “Love And Regret” – 5/13/23

[Video: Kelly C]

Billy Strings – “I’m Troubled” (The Doc Watson Family Band) – 5/13/23

[Video: Whodcapfit]

Billy Strings – “I’m Still Here” (John Hartford) – 5/13/23

[Video: Mike Amolsch]

Billy Strings – “Dealing Despair” – 5/13/23

[Video: Mike Amolsch]

Billy Strings – “The Likes Of Me” (Jerry Reed) – 5/13/23

[Video: Tom Yaley]

Billy Strings – “John Hardy” (Traditional) – 5/13/23

[Video: Tom Yaley]

Billy Strings – “Wargasm” – 5/13/23

[Video: Whodcapfit]

Billy Strings – “All Fall Down” (John Hartford) – 5/13/23

[Video: SteveInTheScene]

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Setlist: Billy Strings | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 5/13/23

Set 1: Fire Line > Reuben’s Train (traditional) > Thirst Mutilator > Steam Powered Aereo Plane (John Hartford), Love and Regret > With a Vamp in the Middle (John Hartford), Libby Phillips Rag, I’m Troubled (The Doc Watson Family), Walk on Boy (Mel Tillis), Hollow Heart > I’m Still Here (John Hartford) > Last Train to Clarksville (The Monkees) > So Many Miles (Billy Failing) > Dealing Despair

Set 2: The Cuckoo (traditional), Running While I’m Waiting Here, The Likes of Me (Jerry Reed), Hands on the Wheel (Willie Nelson), Nothing’s Working, John Hardy (traditional), Wargasm > E.M.D. (The David Grisman Quintet), Love Like Me Dark Hollow (Bill Browning and His Echo Valley Boys), Long Forgotten Dream, All Fall Down (John Hartford)

Encore: Sophronie (Jimmy Martin)